Crate Guilt

Me again. Question 2 in my list of 698 questions that aren't really answered in my books:

Noel has learned to love her crate (and the treat that always goes with). She's quite impatient with me in the morning before I go to work because she wants me to get the hell out of the house. I get that exhausted "how can I nap properly you if you don't go away?" look. Her crate is next to a big set of sliding doors and she has a nice view of the yard, bird feeder and infiltrating squirrels. She's also partial to my leaving the adjacent TV turned to the food channel for her.

Since we started the crate routine, she's never gone more than about 4 hours at a stretch: 8:30 to 12:30 and 1:00 to 4-ish. My husband, RC, drives home during his lunch hour to let her out for a few minutes of play. So far, it's all worked out fine, but I'm still in a perpetual worry/guilt mode about leaving her for too long. Plus, I can't really see RC's noon visits going on for the next decade or so…the round trip takes his full lunch hour and a fair amount of petrol.

So, reality check, what's the maximum number of hours you experienced Basenji-ites think reasonable and sane? And do you have ideas for a Plan B? Much thanks ahead of time!

Is she well behaved in the house that she can have free roam?

Adults can be quite comfortable in a crate for 6 to 8 hours… even 10... the key is, if you are crating her during the day, is she loose at night? If she is loose at night, then her daytime crate time is fine, IMO. However that said, if you want to make a bigger area and don't want to chance leaving her totally loose, you could put an x-pen around the crate. That way she has a little more area in which to "wander" during the day

I would try to let her loose in the house if possible. I find 2x 4 hours already too much.. But that's just me.

@barklessk9:

Is she well behaved in the house that she can have free roam?

Well….she is fairly well behaved when we're around, but I don't think I'd be comfortable leaving her. I'd have visions of her chewing on the piano and choking...or chewing on the rug and choking...or chewing on the metal coffee table and choking...or just choking for no reason...

@tanza:

Adults can be quite comfortable in a crate for 6 to 8 hours… even 10... the key is, if you are crating her during the day, is she loose at night? If she is loose at night, then her daytime crate time is fine, IMO. However that said, if you want to make a bigger area and don't want to chance leaving her totally loose, you could put an x-pen around the crate. That way she has a little more area in which to "wander" during the day

Yes, she's loose at night. The crate is really just for Mon-Fri work hours. But, hey, I just googled "x-pen" and saw numerous options! I'd never thought of that for indoors. Maybe that's the answer. It'd give her a bit more space, keep my mother's piano chew-free, and alleviate my guilt! Thanks.

I had Buddy crated for 10 hours a day the first month I had him in June. But I walked him 30 minutes prior to crating. He was totally fine but I too felt guilty. Now for the last 2-1/2 months I leave him in the backyard and I'm still doing the 30 minute walk in the am.
Do you have a fenced in back yard that's escape proof?

My previous 2 Basenjis stayed loose in the house all day with a dog door to get out in the back. Buddy is not there yet to do that.

Knowing that she is in the crate and safe would make me much more happy then to worry all day if she is all right.

Rita Jean

My dogs are in their crate from 7:30am until 5pm. It's a must. They are destructive when left alone. When we're home during the day, they typically sleep anyways- so personally, I don't feel that badly- they're doing what they would do anyways… with the added security knowing our things are safe and they are not going to hurt themselves. When we get home from work... it's ON! We give them LOTS of play time and always try to do something special for them at least once a weekend. 🙂

More useful feedback! Thanks everyone. I'm feeling better.

Oh Dan, you asked about our fence. We do have a safely fenced yard (including double gate system with a Basenji free zone - the BFZ - in the middle) but I still don't think I could leave her out there unattended for hours. I don't trust what's outside the fence. Too much barky unpredictable nonsense from surrounding dogs in the hood and an alley behind us filled with two and four-pawed activity. Alas, if I could only control the universe…

@BDawg:

My dogs are in their crate from 7:30am until 5pm. It's a must. They are destructive when left alone. When we're home during the day, they typically sleep anyways- so personally, I don't feel that badly- they're doing what they would do anyways… with the added security knowing our things are safe and they are not going to hurt themselves. When we get home from work... it's ON! We give them LOTS of play time and always try to do something special for them at least once a weekend. 🙂

+1 on this…
Mine are crated Mon - Thurs when I work, and any other time no one is home. Here's why: 8 weeks ago, Brando & Ruby (both 4yo) were left out in the house for 30 - 45 minutes max while I was outside with pup, Aaliyah (9mo) and I'm guessing they got into a B500 and Brando ran into a table (or jumped off a table - table was 10ft from where it sits normally) - broke his leg. $2200 (including emergency surgery) and 8 weeks later and I will never leave them out not crated - not even for an hour now. They aren't destructive, but for their own safety I'll crate them - and I feel no guilt as they sleep. They are out the rest of the time when someone is home - and they have a great life - lots of attention, fun, walks, love.

@renaultf1:

+1 on this…
Mine are crated Mon - Thurs when I work, and any other time no one is home. Here's why: 8 weeks ago, Brando & Ruby (both 4yo) were left out in the house for 30 - 45 minutes max while I was outside with pup, Aaliyah (9mo) and I'm guessing they got into a B500 and Brando ran into a table (or jumped off a table - table was 10ft from where it sits normally) - broke his leg. $2200 (including emergency surgery) and 8 weeks later and I will never leave them out not crated - not even for an hour now. They aren't destructive, but for their own safety I'll crate them - and I feel no guilt as they sleep. They are out the rest of the time when someone is home - and they have a great life - lots of attention, fun, walks, love.

I am convinced! Arghhhhh. Poor Brando. Thanks.

My Maggii broke her leg when we were all home… so accidents happen all the time.... since our home is set up with a doggy door for access to the back yard and we can gate off a room for the Basenjis, I do not crate when not home... however, they do sleep in their crates at night... or at least they did before becoming "elders"... who have completely different house rules..ggg

@Ann:

More useful feedback! Thanks everyone. I'm feeling better.

Oh Dan, you asked about our fence. We do have a safely fenced yard (including double gate system with a Basenji free zone - the BFZ - in the middle) but I still don't think I could leave her out there unattended for hours. I don't trust what's outside the fence. Too much barky unpredictable nonsense from surrounding dogs in the hood and an alley behind us filled with two and four-pawed activity. Alas, if I could only control the universe…

How high is the fence Ann? The outsiders shouldn't be able to get in if it's high enough. I have dogs all around me but none attempt to get in. There's even 2 Pitbulls behind me and there's no attempt to get in. Buddy is perfectly fine in the back all day. I just bought him a dog house from COSTCO online and I put 2 thick towels folded up in there with a small water bowl. My first Basenji (1975-1992) lived outside its whole life with no problems. She was actually an excellent guard dog.
How old is Noel?

I crated Gossy for about a month while I was at work (9 hours) but then she learned to open the crate door. So then I worked with her to be loose and not terribly destructive by leaving her loose for short periods (while I walked around the neighborhood), then took some vacation hours so I could come home after a half-day, then 6 hours and so on. This way she gradually got used to the idea of my being gone.
In addition I did have to use piddle pads for awhile because she wasn't used to not going potty whenever she wanted. And of course I made sure she had interactive toys and treats/kibble to hunt for to keep her occupied and a frozen soup bone to chew on. (frozen ones last almost all day).
She did initially chew on the couch (jsut a couple of small holes thankfully) but once I started leaving her with a thick soup bone, that stopped too. She generally goes to sleep in her crate when I leave (I know this because I returned once day for something I had forgotten) and sometimes will sit on the table next to the couch to look out the window. No destruction, no potty on the floor, and no retaliation when I get home. Success! - but it did take some time.

@wizard:

She did initially chew on the couch (jsut a couple of small holes thankfully)

That's exactly what I've dealt with. 2 small holes, one corner that has been slightly gnawed on. Problem is it's very random when he chews on these spots and he doesn't chew on anything new.

Once a week I spread a little bit of mentholated rub on the area (it does stain it a little but once stained it doesn't get worse with continued use) and that keeps her away. A small amount is all that is needed - the smell is what gets them.

Thank goodness I'm past the "few small holes" phase:). Ok, Ok,….truth be known I graduated from a few small holes, to the the absolute gutting of a "few huge cushions":eek: {let the sounds of taps playing in the background let you know where that sleeper sofa is now}

Seriously, I never crate now. The 2 are quite happy to live harmoniously (ie..sleeping) while I'm at work. Yes, I worry about them. No, I'd never leave them out side when I'm not at home (I also have a doggie door and a secure fenced yard)

Crating was a part of the training process for us. But once graduated (with honors:D) to a new level, they were never crated again.

I really think crating is a individual situational and lifestyle choice. There are exceptions, but what fits you and your dogs (if not excessive or abusive) is what's best for a happy family:)

I never really bothered with crate training since I got Kananga at an older age (just under 8 months) and I found that within a few weeks of having him, he was ok out in the open.

Actually, strangely enough, lately he has been hanging out in his crate while I'm gone. I'll come home and he'll be laying in his crate. I keep it near a corner with the door open so he can use it if he wants. Recently he has decided to use it on his own, so I'm quite proud of him.

@wizard:

Once a week I spread a little bit of mentholated rub on the area (it does stain it a little but once stained it doesn't get worse with continued use) and that keeps her away. A small amount is all that is needed - the smell is what gets them.

I've used the Tea Tree Oil. I have to apply it every couple weeks it seems. :rolleyes:

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